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Eric Schwarz  

Former CEO and Co-Founder of Citizen Schools

Eric Schwarz is the former CEO and Co-Founder of Citizen Schools and the author of the recently published book, The Opportunity Equation: How Citizen Teachers are Combating the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools. Schwarz is now working to establish a new public service college as well as serving as Executive Chairman of US2020, a national STEM mentoring initiative, and serving as a board member of Citizen Schools and Beyond12 and as Chairman of a small family foundation.

Schwarz launched Citizen Schools in 1995 and the organization has grown into a leading force in educational innovation, partnering with middle schools across the country to expand the learning day for low-income children. The organization deploys full-time AmeriCorps members, who are recent college graduates, and volunteer “Citizen Teachers,” who teach extended day classes in engineering, law, business, journalism, the arts, and more. Citizen Schools was awarded Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Award in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and the Skoll Foundation’s Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2005 and has been recognized by the White House and the federal Department of Education for its innovation and strong evidence of impact. The program currently operates in 12 school districts across seven states.

In addition to The Opportunity Equation, Schwarz was editor of The Case for 21st Century Skills (Jossey-Bass) with Ken Kay of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and wrote a chapter, “Calling All Citizens,” in The New York Times best-seller, Waiting For Superman. Schwarz is also the author of “Realizing the American Dream: Historical Scorecard, Current Challenges, Future Opportunities,” a widely cited essay examining social change efforts and the role of social entrepreneurs. He has been tapped to speak across the country on education, social entrepreneurship, and social policy. He has served as a member of the Massachusetts Board of Education’s Task Force on 21st Century Skills, the Center for American Progress working group on Expanded Learning Time, and the transition team of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Prior to founding Citizen Schools, Schwarz served as a Public Service Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and as a Vice President of City Year. He also served as national student director for Senator Gary Hart’s 1984 Presidential campaign and as a journalist and columnist for The Oakland Tribune and The Patriot Ledger, where he won two national awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Schwarz earned his B.A. at the University of Vermont and his Master’s in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He lives in Brookline with his wife Maureen Coffey, and their two children.

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